By CARL GREEN
Edwardsville, IL – Illinois Senator Bill Haine has endorsed an experienced prosecutor who grew up in a Labor family to take his place after he retires.
Rachelle Aud Crowe of Glen Carbon is the only announced candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 56th Senate District in the March primary. Haine, 73, has already announced he will not seek re-election as he deals with a rare form of blood cancer. He took office in 2002.
The district covers most of Madison County and extends into parts of St. Clair County including O’Fallon and Fairview Heights.
“I’m pro-union,” Crowe said at a fundraising event in Edwardsville last week. “I grew up in a blue-collar, manufacturing family, many of them retired from Olin, a couple at Laclede Steel, and my mom has been out at the Wood River refinery for 30-plus years.
“So I look forward to protecting union rights at the Senate level.”
Crowe has worked in the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office for 10 years and currently is part of its Violent Crimes Unit, prosecuting homicide, drug and gang crimes.
HIRED BY HAINE
Haine actually hired Crowe as an intern while he was serving as state’s attorney.
“I think the way she’s handled herself in court indicates that she’s good on her feet,” he said in an interview. “She can make substantive arguments, and that’s the nature of the legislative process. She’ll be a good spokesperson for law enforcement – which they need in Springfield.”
Haine noted the difficult nature of Crowe’s prosecutorial work in announcing the endorsement.
“Rachelle stands up in court and fights for justice for victims of homicide and child abuse every day,” he said. “The clear thinking, courage and unwavering integrity Rachelle has shown are exactly what Springfield needs. There is no one I trust more to do what’s right and advocate for the families of this district in the Senate.”
Crowe said she was honored to receive Haine’s endorsement.
“From the U.S. Army to the courtroom and to the Legislature, Senator Haine is a true leader who always stands up for what is right,” she said. “As senator, I would be proud to continue his legacy by fighting to give our children the educational opportunities they deserve, lower property taxes and grow jobs in this district and across Illinois.”
Crowe grew up in the Wood River area, attended Lewis and Clark Community College and then University of Missouri-St. Louis before receiving her law degree at Saint Louis University School of Law in 2000.
On her campaign website – rachelleforsenate.com – Crowe presents a case for economic growth in the metro-east region.
“As a child with deep roots in manufacturing, I know we need to invest in businesses and in workers,” she says. “This community has felt the devastation of job loss, as the manufacturing sector continues to slip away.
“However, our area remains attractive and primed for wide growth. I will be a strong advocate for projects to rebuild the state, create jobs and encourage business investment.”
Crowe also identifies public schools as a top priority.
“As a mom and a product of an Illinois public school system, I know that strong schools are an investment in our children’s future,” she says. “I will fight for more school funding, with less reliance on property taxes, so teachers will have the resources they need without families having to pay the price.
“We need to make sure everyone’s getting educated, that we are taking care of the weakest in our community, and that we are making sure everyone has opportunities.”
Crowe is married with two children and attends St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Edwardsville. Her father, Steve Aud, is now a real estate broker and her mother, Nancy Aud, is now a safety consultant for Phillips 66.
Crowe could wind up facing Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton in the general election. He is the only announced Republican candidate. The dentist was elected mayor in 2013. He is known for trying to push Governor Bruce Rauner’s “turnaround agenda” through the City Council – without success.